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Old 09-04-2017, 07:25 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 54
Year: 1999
Coachwork: International
Engine: 3800 T444E
Rated Cap: 72
Budget Barbie Camper

Hello everyone. I'm evaluating doing a skoolie for part-time travel with the hopes of going full-time. My partner is retired, and I run a IT business.

I rented a 24ft RV and loved it. I loved the dinette while someone drove. I loved sleeping and driving in shifts. I loves having a restroom available for emergencies. We did rent a small car for driving, and I plan on pulling a Hyundia Accent - small, cheap, fuel efficient, light weight.

I did not like the RV construction. MDF with paper veneers, fermica, really small bathroom, shower was useless. The construction I would compare to a trailer park home. Finally, I really don't like those because I could not maintain it.

I'm planning on a 13 window bus - or 78 passengers. We are looking to accommodate at most 4 people including ourselves. We have to pets. Most of the full-time will just be us. I'll need TV, AC, full kitchen, a nice sized bathroom, queen sized bed, two full-size dinettes at front with seat belts - these re metal framed to make secure for seat belts.

It includes a washer dryer (looking for feedback).

I want to build this over the next two years. I'm working on floor plans and designs. I'm doing the drawings in Sketch Up. They'll be attached.

I'm planning on two / three electrical systems - RV 12V, Bus 12V, and 115V. We'll have two ACs, so a 6000W generator for both ACs, coffee pot, and laptop.

We should be able to have 2-3 days of generator power. Cooking with propane.

I'm saving the back 3ft of the us for mechanical. It'll have a 1hr firewall make from dry wall. The generator will go there. The propane and gas storage will be in separate compartments left and right with a 1hr firewall.

Right now I'm in a planning stages. I'm working on overall floor plans, appliances, weights. Next step will be electrical and then plumbing. I have some experience with marine systems, and am considering using marine circuit panels as they are compact, simple, and provide AMPed breakers.

For an awning, I'm thinking a square shade sail
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File Type: png Dinette.PNG (11.8 KB, 33 views)
File Type: png RV4 Awning.PNG (10.0 KB, 28 views)
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File Type: pdf RV4 Dinette.pdf (530.1 KB, 18 views)
File Type: pdf RV4 Costs.pdf (346.6 KB, 12 views)
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Old 09-04-2017, 10:30 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 54
Year: 1999
Coachwork: International
Engine: 3800 T444E
Rated Cap: 72
Updated Floor Plans & Cost & Weight

I've updated the floor planes so the circle Ps (P) are 15 power outlets, (L) are lights, (H) is hot water, (C) is cold water, (2) is a two switch outlet.
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Old 09-05-2017, 03:44 AM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,607
Drywall in a bus is not such a great idea. It isn't going to stand up to the rockin', rollin', bouncing, jouncing, and bangin' that goes on in a bus as you are going down the road. No matter how soft the suspension is you will still encounter the expansion joints, pot holes, and broken pavement. And those encounters will turn your drywall to dust.

I am not exactly sure why you are wasting floor space for a mechanical room. Every school bus I have ever seen has plenty of room under the floor to mount gensets and fuel tanks. If you scrounge around enough you might be able to find USDOT approved vehicle tanks that have an added safety factor built into them above and beyond the normal RV tanks.

If you are going to permanently mount your genset I would suggest you shop around for a used one that came out of a moho that ran on propane. Or diesel. A gasoline tank is not a great addition to a diesel powered bus.

Before I spent the big $$$$ on an RV compatible washer/dryer I would read up on the reviews. Most of them use quite a bit of water and the combination ones that have 110-vac heating units take forever and a day to dry the clothes. Over the years I have known a lot of people who full timed in their RV. Every single one of them, without exception, did their laundry at a laundermat. Every town and KOA have them. You can put a LOT of quarters through someone else's machine before you ever pay for an RV washer/dryer. On the days you know you will want to do laundry pick a campground with a spot close to the laundry so you don't have to schelp stuff as far.

I would also suggest that after you purchase your bus and after you remove all of the seats that you lay out your floor plan with blue tape and cardboard. And then take it camping for a few weekends. What works on paper may not translate well into an actual floor plan. Moving stuff around when it is just tape and cardboard is a lot easier than after it is steel and wood screwed that is screwed down tight.
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:07 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 54
Year: 1999
Coachwork: International
Engine: 3800 T444E
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
Drywall in a bus is not such a great idea. It isn't going to stand up to the rockin', rollin', bouncing, jouncing, and bangin' that goes on in a bus as you are going down the road. No matter how soft the suspension is you will still encounter the expansion joints, pot holes, and broken pavement. And those encounters will turn your drywall to dust.

I am not exactly sure why you are wasting floor space for a mechanical room. Every school bus I have ever seen has plenty of room under the floor to mount gensets and fuel tanks. If you scrounge around enough you might be able to find USDOT approved vehicle tanks that have an added safety factor built into them above and beyond the normal RV tanks.

If you are going to permanently mount your genset I would suggest you shop around for a used one that came out of a moho that ran on propane. Or diesel. A gasoline tank is not a great addition to a diesel powered bus.
I had looked at a gas to propane conversion on the Onan - but the tank required for 3 days - huge. Diesel would be ideal, but gas is 1/2 the cost... oyyy I'm cheap. But if I isolate the tank outside the RV, that eliminates ventilation. Mont propane under, and again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
I would also suggest that after you purchase your bus and after you remove all of the seats that you lay out your floor plan with blue tape and cardboard. And then take it camping for a few weekends. What works on paper may not translate well into an actual floor plan. Moving stuff around when it is just tape and cardboard is a lot easier than after it is steel and wood screwed that is screwed down tight.
I'm evaluating the project - bus space needed, pricing, weights, to make sure I'm within realistic means - money, time, weight. I completely understand that things will need adjusted as the bus get built out. Cabinets are off the shelf... So stuff being built is what will give... but this give me an idea of what I might be able to fit in a reasonable space: 2.5ft per window, and 7.5ft wide. I'll defiantly need to find a bus that's 6'4" or slight taller on the inside. The last river aft trip I went on had one. But the sailboat is only 6'2 in some most spots.

As for the washer and dryer - gone.
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:41 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,607
Buses with the 12" windows will have a higher headroom than the ones with 9" windows.

They are easily identified I pictures. The 9" window buses have the top edge of the windows even with the top of the driver's window and the top of the service door. The 12" window buses have the top edge of the windows above the top of the driver's window and the top of the service door.

As for a propane or diesel genset, check out used moho's. There are a lot of moho's for sale all the time that have a genset. Sometimes they are propane and sometimes they are diesel. But in all cases you can purchase the moho for less than what it would cost for a used genset. In addition you will have all of the necessary stuff for your conversion. Stuff like potable water tank and pump, black and grey tanks, propane tank, fixtures, appliances, and even some soft stuff like sofas, beds, chairs, and driver/co-pilot seats.
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Old 09-05-2017, 05:14 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 54
Year: 1999
Coachwork: International
Engine: 3800 T444E
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
Buses with the 12" windows will have a higher headroom than the ones with 9" windows.

They are easily identified I pictures. The 9" window buses have the top edge of the windows even with the top of the driver's window and the top of the service door. The 12" window buses have the top edge of the windows above the top of the driver's window and the top of the service door.

As for a propane or diesel genset, check out used moho's. There are a lot of moho's for sale all the time that have a genset. Sometimes they are propane and sometimes they are diesel. But in all cases you can purchase the moho for less than what it would cost for a used genset. In addition you will have all of the necessary stuff for your conversion. Stuff like potable water tank and pump, black and grey tanks, propane tank, fixtures, appliances, and even some soft stuff like sofas, beds, chairs, and driver/co-pilot seats.

I'm looking at diesel. I'm pricing new at retailers so I don't have availability issues... I'm looking at:

Generac XD 5,000-Watt Diesel Powered Electric Start Portable Generator-6864 - The Home Depot

The Mini Split AC's 12K BTU @ 15A. That's 1800W each - 3600W. That'll leave some room to make coffee while the vehicle is underway and ACed. =) I'm a big coffee person, especially while driving/traveling.

But, based on a 32 hour run on 12 gallons, if I were to connect tat to the bus tank... LOL. 66 gallons at 0.375 gallons per hour. Leave 1/4 tank reserve... That's 120 hour (5 days) run time. My goal was something like 48-72 hour. Gas didn't get me there, diesel does.

It saves some weight - don't need extra fuel or tanks. I can "sound proof" the enclosure assuming I leave breathing room.
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Old 09-05-2017, 05:27 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 54
Year: 1999
Coachwork: International
Engine: 3800 T444E
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
Buses with the 12" windows will have a higher headroom than the ones with 9" windows.

They are easily identified I pictures. The 9" window buses have the top edge of the windows even with the top of the driver's window and the top of the service door. The 12" window buses have the top edge of the windows above the top of the driver's window and the top of the service door.
Awesome - mental note.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
As for a propane or diesel genset, check out used moho's. There are a lot of moho's for sale all the time that have a genset. Sometimes they are propane and sometimes they are diesel.
I'm quoting out a diesel:

Generac XD 5,000-Watt Diesel Powered Electric Start Portable Generator-6864 - The Home Depot

I can sound proof the enclosure assuming I provide room to breath. I like diesel - the bus will have PLUNTY. Less fuel to carry since I'm not carring another type for limited use.

Hooked up with a 25% reserve on a 66 gallon tank... that's about 5 days run time. I was initially hoping for 3 days (weekend), but 5 days. Untethered freedom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
But in all cases you can purchase the moho for less than what it would cost for a used genset. In addition you will have all of the necessary stuff for your conversion. Stuff like potable water tank and pump, black and grey tanks, propane tank, fixtures, appliances, and even some soft stuff like sofas, beds, chairs, and driver/co-pilot seats.
I did not consider cannibalizing an existing mobile home... But I'm not happy with a lot of the "trailer" quality items. I'd want more home grade stuff - uses more power, but that's why I'm stuck on a beefy genny - otherwise we will have shore power.

I really need to break down everything into three major groupings:

1) Cost
2) Weight
3) Watts

Part of the reason I'm quoting retail items is for statistical data on weights, gallons per hours, hookup manuals, etc.
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Old 09-05-2017, 08:51 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 54
Year: 1999
Coachwork: International
Engine: 3800 T444E
Rated Cap: 72
I'm looking at a two year timeline. I'd really like to get a bus with less than 100k miles on it. I've seen some cheap buses, but to get one under 100k miles will probably require paying more than basement bottom prices.

Here are the locations for bus sales that look appealing. I'll keep replying to this as I find more vendors. I'm just trying to find site with 77 passengers buses, less then 100K miles, and less than $10k. I'm skipping sites that don't have prices, or don't have mileage.

Used School Buses | MacAllister Transportation

https://houston.craigslist.org/searc...ery=school+bus

Public Surplus: School Bus

Public Surplus: Transit Bus

2004 International Blue Bird School Bus

Used School Buses For Sale - Better Buses @ Better Prices - We deliver school buses nation wide

Used 2001 Thomas Thomas - Swansea IL Near Nixa MO - Midwest Transit

Used School Buses for sale | Pre Owned School Bus dealer

Don Brown Bus Sales : Used Archives - Don Brown Bus Sales

2001 THOMAS THOMAS School Bus for Sale | #521183

https://www.taylorbus.com/search.htm...y&Bus.lift=any

https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...=10&StartRow=1


Any other idea's and sites?
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Old 09-07-2017, 08:02 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: 14623
Posts: 30
Year: 1986
Coachwork: International
Chassis: S1800
Engine: 9.0
Govdeals.com

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Old 09-07-2017, 08:16 AM   #10
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: The West
Posts: 327
Year: 1998
Coachwork: MCI
Chassis: 102 EL3
Engine: DD 60
Rated Cap: 50k
Quote:
Originally Posted by syntel View Post
Hello everyone. I'm evaluating doing a skoolie for part-time travel with the hopes of going full-time.
Howdy and welcome Syntel!

Planning is always good - always! However; buses present many 'interesting' challenges that often ruin the plan (or did for me). It is not square inside, sometimes there is no space under the floor for a drain/access/etc which requires moving a thing, roof escape hatches may fall in the wrong place, etc... So, be flexible (but don't stop planning). I now have a new admiration for RV designers.

The smaller, vented washer/dryer combos (like Splendide) work well. I am in the process of installing a residential size combo (Kenmore 41003) - details here.

My only real suggestion is to plan some solar. It really isn't all that expensive and is SOOO AWESOME!!
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